SCARBOROUGH — The Scarborough Land Trust is celebrating its 40th anniversary with new trails and a new website.
“As Scarborough continues to grow, we want to continue to conserve land,” Kathy Mills, executive director of the trust, said recently. “People love Scarborough and part of what people love is its natural beauty – the beaches, the marsh, the rolling farm lands.”
The trust purchased 135 acres in the Pleasant Hill neighborhood in December 2014 and plans to open two trails this year in the Pleasant Hill Preserve, with construction to begin in late May: a nearly 2-mile loop and a 0.6-mile path.
The trust completed a nearly 0.4-mile universal access trail, called Eleanor’s Trail, at the Pleasant Hill Preserve last December. The trail was named by an anonymous donor who made a $50,000 donation for the trail that is suitable for people with physical disabilities.
Mills said Eleanor’s Trail has a smooth surface and offers sweeping views of open meadows and woodlands.
The ADA-accessible trail was professionally built, but the land trust will be seeking volunteers to build the other two trails.
“We can’t do our work without community support,” Mills said. “The land trust relies on private donations. (Land conservation) only happens when communities get together and decide they want to conserve their land. Volunteers are the backbone of our stewardship.”
The volunteers are needed at various times, including in the late afternoon and evenings. They also hope to have work parties during the day and occasional work parties on weekends.
Mills said no special skills are needed and the trust will provide all the required equipment. Volunteers can contact Toby Jacobs, stewardship coordinator at the Scarborough Land Trust, at 844-0114 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trust properties include Libby River Farm Preserve, Pleasant Hill Preserve, Warren Woods, Sewell Woods, Fuller Farm Preserve and Broadturn Farm.
“We know the town is growing and we are eager to conserve land, for public benefit for people and for wildlife, forever,” Mills said.
The land trust is also looking for volunteers for their annual spring clean-up on May 6 from 9 a.m.-noon; bring work gloves, water bottles, mud-friendly boots or shoes, and a hat.
The group is also working to to develop a management plan to remove invasive plants and plant native species. Mills said that they will be removing invasive species by mechanical means because Scarborough has an anti-pesticide policy.
Invasive species that will be removed are autumn olive, honeysuckle multiflora rose, and bittersweet and barberry. Volunteers are also needed to remove invasive species.
The new website, at scarboroughlandtrust.org has updated information about conserved lands, trails, easy-to-download maps, easier to access news and upcoming events, as well as photos of trust properties. Mills said the site is much easier to use.
The land trust will hold its first nature walk of the season on May 13 from 5-6:30 p.m. Eddie Woodin will lead the walk and discuss the abundant bird life at Pleasant Hill Preserve.
”We are looking forward to doing more in the next 10 years as we make our way to our 50th,” Mills said.
Nancy Libbey, of Scarborough, right, and family friend Cri Gonzalez, 9, of New York City, walk along Eleanor’s Trail at the Pleasant Hill Preserve on Monday. Libbey said she uses the Pleasant Hill trails at least once a day.
Cri Gonzalez, 9, of New York City, stops to pet Oonagh, a 7-month-old golden retriever owned by Nancy Libbey, left, while they were training the puppy along Eleanor’s Trail at the Pleasant Hill Preserve in Scarborough on Monday, April 10. Libbey, who lives in the neighborhood, said “we feel very appreciative” of the trails.